Two-Way Communication

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In the past, good public health communication meant informing community members about issues and publicizing information about programs (e.g., one-way communication). Now, the model for good public health communication is two-way communication or multi-directional.

The chart below contrasts old ways of thinking about communication with new ways of thinking about engagement.

Communication (Old Way) Engagement (New Way)
Communicate To... Deliberate With...
Public Hearing Community Conversation
Talk to / Tell Talk with / Share
Seeking to Establish / Protect Turf Seeking / Finding Common Ground
Authority Responsibility
Influencing the Like-Minded Understanding Those Not Like-Minded
Top-Down Bottom-Up
Building a Decision-Making Hierarchy Establishing a Stakeholder Network
Goals / Strategic Plan Values / Vision
Products Process
Public Relations Public / Community Engagement